Tuesday, May 19, 2020

924 steams!

The 924 builds steam on a warm spring day.
Locomotive 924 was constructed in 1899 by the Rogers Locomotive Works of Paterson, New Jersey, and was delivered along with two identical sisters to the St.Paul and Duluth Railroad.  By 1901 it was under ownership of the Northern Pacific Railway, and was soon serving their needs in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest.

Steam and air plumbing fills the cab; the
roof has been left off the cab for now to
improve access and lighting.
In 1924, the 924 became superfluous to the needs of the N.P. R. and was sold to the Inland Empire Paper Company near Spokane, WA.  The locomotive met the needs of its new owner until 1969 when company president William H. Cowles Jr. donated the 924 to the Northwest Railway Museum.  The 924 briefly operated in Chehalis, and was later moved to the Museum headquarters in Snoqualmie.  In 2015 it was nominated and listed on the King County and City of Snoqualmie Landmarks Register.  Work was immediately underway on a major rehabilitation effort, which is now nearing completion.

A wood fire crackled for about four hours
before the boiler reached operating
pressure. 924 will be fueled with wood
rather than coal.
May 18, 2020 represents an important milestone for the 924: it returned to steam and operated under its own power in testing on the shop track.  An inspection conducted by the Federal Railroad Administration observed that the boiler safety valves opened and closed at appropriate pressure levels, and the steam-powered air pump was able to deliver the required air flow.  During the visit, Museum staff also demonstrated successful operation of both Ohio injectors, and the hydro-static lubricator, all of which were rebuilt by Backshop Enterprises.  And an additional day under steam gave collections care specialists - steam specialists, really - an opportunity to perform additional testing and troubleshooting.  Steven B., Josh K., Scott, and Gary performed most of the effort required to boil the boiler water, but dozens of additional volunteers and staff contributed efforts that allowed this to happen.

Work on the 924 is continuing and completion of vital systems is anticipated in 2nd quarter 2020.  Work has been funded by contributions from individuals, companies, foundations, and government agencies including 4Culture, Washington's Heritage Capital Fund, the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association, Emery Rail Trust, Schwab Fund, and more. You can support completion of the project by visiting the Museum's donation page, making a pledge, and selecting the steam program here.

Check out two days of steam in photos and videos:

The hydrostatic lubricator, automatic brake valve, steam gauge,
and air gauges.

924 was built with one water glass but
regulations now require two.

Setting safety valves to the correct pressure involves verifying
they open at the desired pressure.
Checking the water level.

Verifying the open and close pressures for the safety valves.

924 simmers in the Snoqualmie Valley
The Museum's director and the inspector from the Federal
Railroad Administration discuss locomotive 924.


tomd said...

Fantastic work , thanks to All volunteers .

Steve said...

CONGRATS to all who have labored on NP-924 !!!

Unknown said...

Congratulations to the NW Railway Museum crew. Great achievement bringing the 924 back to life!
Doug Shearer

Railroad Smurf said...

Way to go ! I am happy to see that there will be steam back in the Snoqualmie Valley and at the museum. I'm all so happy to see that the 108 that was in Snoqualmie and at the museum is now running in Hill City,SD. at the Black Hills Central R.R. (1880 Train). Miss you all and wish I was still on crew there.

Unknown said...

This is the best News i have seen for a long time and glad that all the work that the Staff and Volunteers have done on this Steam Engine is paying off and to know this equipment will teach people about how steam works for years to come.

Unknown said...

Cant wait to see this baby steam past my house!!!

BigPlanDan said...

The only thing that would beat this is the disappearance of Covid. Congratulations to all involved! Only they will ever know all the work involved and all the difficulties encountered in bringing an old steam engine to life. And, of course, there is the monumental task of raising all the money needed for this job! American ingenuity at work!!!
Dan O'Connell
Canyon Country, California

Graham Stokes said...

Beautiful to see. Great work. That whistle is gorgeous.